One Nation Under God – A Shavuot Meditation

Shavuot is one of the biblical pilgrimage festivals, and once upon a time brought the whole nation together. Today, it’s been heavily commercialized.

| Topics: Shavuot
Ethiopian children celebrate Shavuot. Photo: Dudu Greenspan/Flash90

Once upon a time, about 2,000 years ago, Shavuot, or Pentecost, was the festive season for the people of Israel to come together as one nation under G-d. 

The multitudes made their way up to Jerusalem with baskets on their shoulders and were met at the gates by the residents of the city, who welcomed them with open arms, tambourines and dancing. A bed and breakfast were prepared for every guest with delicacies galore for everyone creating an atmosphere of an extended family that spread throughout the city’s fresh mountain air. 

The care and concern for one another was such that it so relieved everyone and set them free from their daily personal troubles and cares that they were now able to focus on what was best for their family and friends and the community that had gathered together. Their heart-felt companionship for one another established a “spiritual temple,” a dwelling place for the presence of G-d and His redemption. 

When did this dream-like reality turn into a traditional piece of strawberry cheesecake we now eat on this festival central to the Jewish calendar? How did the marvelous Feast of Shavuot become a commercial to fill up on Israeli supermarket cheeses? What happened that our season of rejoicing in the giving of G-d’s Torah on Mount Sinai and the pouring out of His Spirit in Jerusalem became just another opportunity for kids in white shirts to take a selfie in front haystacks in a field? 

Are we missing something?

The answer is hidden somewhere between the sweet cakes, white shirts and the mysterious history of Am Yisrael, the People of Israel, and G-d’s living Word–the Jewish Messiah. For it was the Messiah Yeshua that came to make us one, to bring our different tribes and sectors together, both Gentiles and Jews, so that just like in the days of old, through the Spirit of G-d that dwells in us, we too can become a Temple, a dwelling place of His love. 

Perhaps this is more relevant today than ever. For when we decide to come together and allow the light of His presence to surround us, we are knit together and clothed in a festive white robe of the love of G-d that covers a multitude of sins.

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